Preview of Southport Weekender 47 6th -8th May 2011

What a phenomenal year we're having! So far it's a year full of change, illustrating a theme of beginnings and endings and certainly the potential for a new time. It's only fitting that the fabulous and positive energy of Southport Weekender would also be affected by this climate and therefore SP47 will be held at Butlins Holiday Resort, Minehead, for the first time in its colourful history.

Southport Weekender

The move down south and the economic climate hasn't at all deterred the love and passion for the continuation of this brilliant event, as when news broke out about the end of Pontins and forthcoming change, ticket sales have soared! When change occurs it's all about seeing the opportunity for progression and the possibility of bringing a new form to the world. What's absolutely clear EVERYONE is buzzing about Southport Weekender 47 and judging by the anticipation, venue and line up, this one has the potential to be one of the best ever!!

It is a real honour and privilege to be writing this preview as being a part of the Southport family and having seen the changes throughout its history, to be witnessing the birth of a new Southport Weekender, that has the potential to continue its wonderful spirit into the future, is really exciting! The fact that the event sold out initially in record time (although there may well be a few chalets left currently, so check the website) despite the change, shows just how loyal and passionate the Southport followers are. I'm sure it's a real bonus for the Southern contingency of the new location, yet it hasn't dampened the Northern spirit, as coaches and flights are booked for sure to make this one, nevertheless I do have to say if you see any Scottish punters at this event, make sure you buy them a drink! However I'm sure there may even be a crowd from even further afield than Britain due to the fantastic success of Suncébeat. Suncébeat1 created an event that brought many party people from all over the world to join the Southport Weekender family, so we might get a real international flavour at this one!

The reason for this loyal following and desire to travel is that the creators really do love our enthusiasm for the weekender and ensure to provide us all with the best opportunity to party and believe me Southport Weekender 47 looks ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! It's no wonder there's such a buzz about this one! I don't think I've ever seen, in my humble opinion, such an impressive line up anywhere in the world for the style of music that Southport Weekender always delivers. Its 1st class, no doubt!!

The move to Butlins has the potential to really bring a new found joy to the Southport family. Due the increased size and modern amenities it means artists can stay within the action, similar to Suncebeat, and with the seemingly better accommodation, far better food outlets, cinema, fun fare and even a water park, it should certainly be a bit nicer than Pontins! It all seems pretty pimp to me! One thing's for sure it certainly should be hotter down south and with all the other fun things to do on site should suit the Southport crowd. There's even the new creation of 'The Sand's' as The Sun & Moon Pub. Class!

I truly have to say thanks to Alex, Dave and Sarah for the phenomenal line up they have brought together for Southport Weekender 47! Southport Weekender brings all aspects of soul, house, jazz to modern progressive fusion jazz and classics of Northern soul to a history of funk, hip hop, r'n'b and much more to the table. It's a soul weekender that has seen the evolution of soul and one love spirit to bring so many different types of people and styles together and has endured because of the feeling you get when you go there. We go there to dance, let loose and be a part of a fantastic community of friendly and happy people. It's no wonder Southport Weekender marches on in this tumultuous time in the world, as anyone can benefit from the positive energy and good vibrations that Southport Weekender delivers in abundance!

Southport Weekender continues the same formula with four rooms- The Powerhouse, Funkbase, Connoisseurs Corner and Beat Bar. What's quite exciting is that I don't know what the rooms will be like, so everyone is going to get something new from #47 but having been to a weekender before, that guarantees excellent quality sound systems, brilliant visuals and the best space to dance in, I'm sure the creators will improve on what was. Exciting!

I've never seen a line up on Friday night quite like the one I'm about to experience in the Powerhouse on Friday! It's truly phenomenal!! You've got Steve Butler followed by Ronnie Herel and then Rapheal Saadiq live in concert!! After that you've got The Unabombers, DJ Spinna 'House Set', Roger Sanchez 'Classic US House Set' and Derrick Carter to finish it off for the first night!!! That line up alone for one night in one room could easily sell out an event to capacity easily! What's really cool is to remember that the weekender pretty much sold out before that line up was announced so no one knew what we were going to get before we bought our tickets. That's why we LOVE Southport Weekender as it always goes above and beyond what we expect!

It's made it very hard for me to think how I can leave The Powerhouse on Friday to write a fair review but believe me there's more AMAZING stuff going on in other rooms as well, so I'm sure no one will be disappointed and I'm sure everyone will be dancing! In the Funkbase there's Abi Clarke, DJ Raheem, DJ Spoony, Naughty By Nature live pa, Shortee Blitz and the amazing David Rodigan to finish it all off!! There's Gavin Kendrick, Kev Beadle, Snowboy, Gilles Peterson, Dixon, Theo Parish and Carl Craig in the Beat Bar and Andy Davies, Bob Jeffries, Avery Sunshine live in concert, Terry Jones, Norman Jay 'Good Times Set', Stuart Patterson, Mike Stephens, Rub N Tug and Paul 'Trouble' Anderson 'boogie set in the Connoisseurs Corner, ALL on Friday night! Indeed we are SPOILT for choice!

I really don't know how I'll be able to sleep on Friday as what could be a remarkable night but I am very interested to see what will happen after 8am when the venue rests, because on site it usually continues on with the chalet parties. I hope Butlins allows the other legendary aspects of Southport Weekender to continue that brings sound systems, other choice tunes and more importantly, the chance for fans of the music and DJ's, to emulate them and play tracks to their mates and even meet new ones! The chalet parties truly bring the Southport crowd together and represent the sounds of local communities in different parts of the UK for anyone to hear.

Saturday day is always a highlight for me as I can't think of any better Saturday afternoon in the entire world than at Southport Weekender! I'm sure with all the fun things to do and even a beach close by there will be much frivolity happening on Saturday. We're lucky enough to have three rooms open this time with of course the 'The Legendary Connoisseurs Soul Session' with the dons Bob Jeffries, Terry Jones and Andy Davies spinning, plus Marilyn Ashford Brown, Al Johnson and Dexter Wansel all live in concert. Pimp! We've got Ronnie Herel, Steve Wren and Bigger who will no doubt be smashing it in the Funkbase, and then we've got the best of British with Steve Butler, Sean McCabe, Craig Smith and Phil Asher all spinning in the Beat Bar. The Beat Bar on Saturday is always deep and progressive so I'm sure it will be pumping. We also see the return of Ben Westbeech live, who provided a great show at 40th anniversary, who I'm sure, will be truly looking forward to raising the vibes of the Southport crowd on Saturday afternoon.

Obviously the quality doesn't stop there as Saturday night looks epic too! With Sarah Favouritizm, Craig Smith, Sean McCabe, Rasmus Faber & The Rafa Orchestra live in concert, Jellybean Benitez, Spen & Karizma and the mighty Kerri Chandler to finish it all off in The Powerhouse! There's Gavin Kendrick, Snowboy, Kev Beadle, Alice Russell live in concert, Benji B, Joy Orbison, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Kenny Dope 'free style eclectic set' in the Beat Bar! The Connoisseurs Corner on Saturday looks really interesting with DJ Spinna and Gary Dennis making an appearance but look out for Colin Curtis special 3 decades of Southport set and Todd Terje to finish it all off! Lastly in the Funkbase we have the mighty Grandmaster Flash that is sure to blast!! There's N'Dambi, live in concert also and I'm sure DJ Ez 'old skool UK garage set' will deliver a flavour that only Southport can! Look out for that! There's also DJ Brown Suga, JP, DJ Swerve, Steve Wren on that night too and the return of Trevor Nelson to finish Saturday night off. Heavy!!

In traditional Southport Sunday fashion we have the Beat Bar playing an afternoon of Old Skool, jazz funk and boogie; and in The Powerhouse Southport veterans will be playing classics and finale tracks during the afternoon and early evening. We also see the return of The Sounds Of Blackness to give us a taste of uplifting soul for our journey home. Sounds Of Blackness always deliver a great live show and I'm sure they are most enthused to play SP47. Sweet! Fortunately Butlins have allowed the continuation of what have now become legendary after parties for some lucky Southport party people to continue on until Monday morning. Thanks!

So despite economic times it seems a good thing can't die. I haven't even been to Southport 47 yet but the line up speaks for itself. With all the other possibilities to enhance our experience of Southport Weekender, #47 has the potential to be mind blowing! I'm really looking forward to seeing many of the acts on the line up, especially Rapheal Saadiq and Derrick Carter, as well as hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash who I've been waiting to see for some time now! It's great that David Rodigan is back and I'm sure Rub N Tug will be hyped after their awesome boat party set at Suncébeat.

With change there's always fear and for those loyal to the old Southport venue this may be the last weekender they go to if they can't shift their perspective, but for those that are flexible to change and welcome a new future it could be exactly what one is looking for. Alex, Dave and Sarah have certainly ensured every possible chance of success and if Butlins embrace the spirit of Southport, it could provide exactly the partnership required to accommodate a loyal new family for their venue and allow some seriously good parties in the future! I'm particularly excited to see the synergy of the newly created Suncébeat family and how that affects the original vibe of the Southport Weekender family this time. Due to the intimacy and size of the venue in Croatia, it really brought many Southport lovers closer together. I can't wait to hook up with that crew for SP47!

Bring it on!!

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